Amongst the wonder and excitement a new baby brings, many mothers find birth is the trigger for a confusing roller coaster of emotions. As the body adjusts in this post-partum period and moves into a post-pregnancy phase of producing milk and supporting the baby, natural regulatory hormones are in disarray.
To ease new mothers through this transitory period, many are now turning to placenta encapsulation, a process in which the hormone-richplacenta is dehydrated and ground into a powder, then encased in palatable capsules, similar to vitamin pills. When consumed, mothers report a tangible boost in energy and stability in emotions.
Placentra Encapsulation is available on the Sunshine Coast through “Placenta Vitality”, a discrete 24-hour service offered by locals Natalie Stokell and Pete Ansell.
When Natalie gave birth to her first child five years ago, she was aware of the benefits of consuming the placenta. Her partner Pete, a chef, lovingly prepared little bite-sized pieces for her to take daily. However, Natalie is a vegetarian and she lasted one day before the “ick” factor made this unpleasant.
When they had their second child in 2012, the couple did more research, and this time Pete prepared the placenta according to Traditional Chinese Medicine methods.
Not only were the resulting capsules were much more palatable, but the difference in her recovery was remarkable, says Natalie.
“I couldn't believe it, I didn’t get the three day weepies when my milk came in, my energy levels were amazing, and my emotions were on an even keel.”
She was completely convinced when she had a very emotional afternoon two weeks in; Pete asked her if she had taken her capsules that day, and she realised she had forgotten. “It blew me away, and I knew how much difference this could make to people’s post-natal period if they were aware of it.”
With all the preparation for the birth and baby’s arrival, the post-natal period is not usually given much thought, and consequently women are sometimes shocked at how tough the recovery is. Not only the physical recovery, but the emotional roller coaster of the early days of parenthood.
“We spend all this time getting things ready for the baby, the clothes, the nursery, and with all this focus it can sometimes come as a shock when the hormones drop and the emotions hit us after the baby is here,” says Natalie.
Post natal depression effects up to 30% of women and many more cases are undiagnosed. The placenta is full of nutrients and hormones that support recovery in the post-natal period. Examples include Prostaglandins which are anti-inflammatory, Prolactin to promote lactation, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone to boost energy, Interferon, which heightens the immune system, and Oxytocin, the feel-good bonding hormone.
At the urging of their midwife, Natalie and Pete started offering Placenta Encapsulation for others, and “Placenta Vitality” was born.
"When we tell people about it the reactions are a mixed bunch," says Natalie, “Usually the first response is ‘Euw!!’, but upon hearing that we are one of the only mammals who don’t eat our placenta, and then all the benefits of doing so, people start to get a little curious. And when we explain that it’s taken in powered and capsule form, then that makes it much easier to stomach for most people”.
“We pick up the placenta within 24 hours of birth, and then return it 24 hours later in capsules in a blue glass jar,” says Pete. “It’s just like taking a supplement and it bears no relation to what it used to be. Our byline is Making Placenta Palatable!”
Their clients come from all walks of life says Natalie. “We have had home births, hospital births, caesarian, twins, medicated and unmedicated, and the feedback has been unanimous. Usually mums are surprised at their energy levels and also their emotions, especially second-time mums who didn't encapsulate for their first birth.”
“My dream is that more and more women hear about Placenta Encapsulation, and that it becomes a normal part of the birth plan and post natal period,” says Natalie.
Founded in 2012 by Natalie Stokell and Pete Ansell, Placenta Vitality provides Placenta Encapsulation on the Sunshine Coast. We take pride in our customer service and we are discrete and respectful of the precious first days of parenthood.
We love what we do, and so do our clients.